Saturday, October 01, 2005

Facility Gone, but not Hope

Read the testimony of former pro football player Danny Woerffel and his involvement with PCA's Desire Street Ministries:

Tenth Goes to the Gulf

Twenty-five Philadelphia area men and women leave tonight for hard hit Biloxi, Mississippi. They will take turns driving as they travel 23 hours non-stop. The focus of this short term mission of mercy are three: to clear debris, place roof tarps on houses, remove wet/moldy carpeting from as many homes as possible. Give thanks and pray for our own Matt Moslener and David Waltrous who will represent Tenth. Pray for safety and a work that will glorify God. They return home October 8.

Desire Street Update

Here's the latest update from next year's Urban Mission Conference speaker, Rev. Mo Leverett, whose church and school were destroyed by Hurricane Katrina: I’ve been extremely encouraged by the efforts of so many people over the last two weeks. With the help of our staff, camp staff, donors and volunteers, we have transformed our new school site at Camp Timpoochee in Niceville, Florida into a donations distribution center and a construction site in preparation for our students’ arrival. By week’s end, we expect to have at least 75 Desire Street Academy boys at the camp, and we plan to start classes on Monday, October 3rd.

My family and I have moved from the Atlanta area to Florida, and most of our school and ministry staff members are relocating as well. Ultimately, we plan to serve 100 boys this school year, and we are excited about the ministry opportunities we will have in this setting. Please pray God would use us and this boarding school to immediately and eternally impact the lives of these young men [editor's note: pray for the 60 boys who are still missing].

Our website continues to be the best source with the latest information on our progress and on ways to help. Please visit to stay up to date and to see current photos from our New Orleans facility and community, as well as from our new location in Florida.

When you visit the site, you’ll find contact information about specific needs under the Ways to Help section, including donations and volunteer opportunities. We’re moving our Atlanta office to Destin, Florida this weekend, so you’ll also see our new mailing address. Our donations address remains: Desire Street Ministries Fund Whitney Bank, Northwest BranchMail Teller, Attn: Loveda Lockey1716 Mangum RoadHouston, TX 77092.

Friday, September 30, 2005

Away Again

I will be away next week. Thus expect fewer postings. Will pick back up October 10.

Nehemiah Project Invitation

Aaron Messner requested this announcement to be posted:

This coming Thursday night (Oct 6, 6:30-8:30) the Nehemiah Project will be having their monthly large group meeting at the church. This month we want to invite the entire church to come out and join us for a night of fellowship and prayer for the city.

We'll be praying for ...
1) Tenth's members and ministries: that we would have deeper understanding of the gospel, greater love and care for one another, and a stronger desire to reach out and serve in his name. 2) We'll be praying for the the new presbytery and the churches and church plants that will compose the new body as well as other gospel preaching ministries/churches in the city.

The overarching thrust of the evening is asking God to bless us (Tenth and the Presbytery) with a new season of fruitful outreach and ministry to the city. We'll be offering dinner from 6:30-7:15 (free of charge, donations accepted), we'll then sing a few songs and have season of prayer from 7:30-8:30.

Symphony Sounds

I have Beethoven's Fifth Symphony running through my mind. The Rykens invited Ginger and me to hear the Philadelphia Symphony Orchestra last night and this was featured. It was awesome! Our seats were directly above and back of the orchestra, giving a "behind-the-scenes" perspective. I love the building. I felt like I was sitting inside of an instrument. I saw Paul Jones on the other side, but for some reason he ignored me when I yelled to him between music pieces.

Strategic Planning

The Session approved to undertake a strategic planning process for the church, to go through the end of 2006. You will receive an insert in this Sunday's bulletin written by Frank Harder. I'll see about having it posted on the church website next week. This is a momentous undertaking and your prayers are of utmost importance. You will read in the insert about ways in which church members' input will be gathered.


Dori Baggs sent me this information about Sparrows, a ministry of TenthWomen. Sparrows is meeting Saturday, October 8, 1-3 pm. Contact Dori to RSVP:

"Sparrows is a ministry that seeks to develop intergenerational relationships between women of all ages. This is a ministry of spiritual mothering using the Titus 2 model of "older women teaching younger women." We are reaching out as spiritual mothers, aunts, big sisters, and grandmothers. In our society today we don't have many opportunities to mingle with those in a different generation from our own! Sparrows is one way to do just that.

"We are building bridges to different age groups through sharing the Word & making crafts. It may sound like a silly combination, but girls love crafts and making friends! Conversation flows when your hands are occupied! Many great relationships have started around the Sparrows craft tables! We craft after the devotional; so its easy to talk about what the speaker said.
The crafts/devotionals are geared for girls ages 5 through early teens, but TenthWomen wants to especially encourage gals from teens up through older adults to come to Sparrows to minister to the younger girls. They can befriend the younger girls and get to know them and talk to them about the Lord. By doing so these women are also developing their own leadership and communication skills, using the gifts the Lord has given them to bless the next generation. "

Thursday, September 29, 2005

News from Afar

Just got an email from former Tenth elder Bill Walter. He has returned to his home state of Hawaii to run the 100 year plus family business. If you want to check it out click here. His great (great?) grandfather was a missionary to Hawaii.

Talent Survey

The Talent Survey is now on-line. Go to the church website and click on "News" on the front page. You can print out the survey, fill it out, and then send back in.

Sign Language Popular

We hoped a handful of people would take a course on sign language to help in our ministry to the deaf. Over twenty have registered and it looks like we will hit capacity of 25. Jodi Clark is heading this up and Roz who signs in the evening service will do the teaching.


Today he turns thirty-nine
A year below two-score.
May before the fatal decline
This year bring him one more,

One more victory for the Cards,
One more book to write;
One more time in the cards
To shooting the winning score.

One time more before decline
Of hair and aching back.
Before the sight and the mind
Move into the night.

Happy Birthday, Phil!
Have a cheerful day!

Emmy Winner!

Check out the MidAtlantic Emmy award winners at the website of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences: . Tenth member John Blanda won an Emmy recently for Live Programming as one of the producers of “Gimme The Mike Philadelphia- Live Finale” on UPN 57. Way to go John!

Thanks to Joel Garver for the info.

In the News

Got this email notice from byFaith, the PCA's magazine. Tenth member Sheryl Woods Olsen and Bill Edgar, Westminster professor and occasional Tenth attender are featured in the latest edition. Here is what is said about them:

"We enjoy good company and a good laugh. But real entertainment, William Edgar says, is not an escape or a distraction. For the Christian “it is a profound reflection of the presence of God.” We’ve heard rumors that there are Presbyterians who actually laugh and play. If true, then their fun, when it is fully enjoyed, should be deeper and more satisfying than the world’s.

"Sheryl Woods, a member of Tenth Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia, sings opera—not because she craves riches or fame, but because “beauty and truth are things we desperately need, and art is one of the ways they come into the culture.”

In this issue you’ll be reminded that when we do all these ordinary things for the glory of God we become more engaged in culture, not more withdrawn. We become more interested in the arts and society, not more detached. And, as Denis Haack reminds us, while the offense of the cross always remains, we (and the gospel) sometimes become more attractive to a watching world. "

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Grammar Lesson #1

I know I am swimming against the tide, but there are two grammar lessons I must teach to relieve my burden. I'll teach one now and wait on the other one.

Lie and Lay

I lie down. I lay an object down. The only time to express that "I lay down" is to indicate that I did it in the past. "Lay" is the past tense of "lie."

I lie on the couch when I get tired.
I lay on the couch yesterday when I got tired.
I have lain on the couch when I have gotten tired.
I will lie on the couch when I get tired.

The verb for placing an object down happens to be "lay." Here are its changes in tense:
I lay the keys on the table when I come home.
I laid the keys on the table yesterday when I came home.
I have laid the keys on the table every day when I have come home.
I will lay the keys on the table when I come home.

If you see Linda Boice, please let her know that I have fought the good fight for English teachers.

25 Years

I just learned that yesterday was the 25th wedding anniversary of Jim and Nancy Hala. Congratulations!


I completed chapter 12 of Proverbs today in the "A Proverb a Day" devotional blogsite. That's 81 proverbs (from chapter 10-12). There are many more to go. It is an "ingraining" exercise. As the days go on, meditating on one proverb at a time, the solid wisdom and truth begin to take hold. One reason is that the proverbs present two repetitive themes: righteous living vs. wicked living and wisdom vs. foolishness. Like a scientist, it examines its subject from many angles and runs all kinds of experiments to test its "hypothesis" that wisdom and righteousness triumph over folly and wickedness.

If you have not done so yet, I encourage you to take one week of daily reading the proverb and devotional. The activity will take less than 60 seconds, but will have a more lasting effect than you may expect.

Last Day

This Sunday will be Nate Potts' last day with us as Head Sexton. Nate has done excellent work for the church, and we pray for God's blessing on his future endeavors. If you see him, please thank him for the good work he has done.

Missions Deficit

The lag in missions giving is reaching alarming numbers. Last week, we were $88,000 behind in the budgeted giving. We are behind in all three budgets - General, Missions, and Building. Remember that you must designate on your envelope and/or check memo line "Missions" or "Building." Otherwise, all undesignated checks go into General. The church does not portion the giving for you.

In the News

Last Friday, Tobias Klauder and I were interviewed by Channel 6 News about the webcasting of sermons and worship services. The interview will likely be aired during the news in the 6:00 hour sometime on or after October 13. Bob Timms, who did the interview and is a member of Tenth, will let us know when the date and time is set. Have you checked out our webcasts? Click here: webcasts. You can always directly go to it from the church's website front page.

How popular is the webcast site? We receive 2,300 downloads a month worldwide. The biggest hits from other countries are, in this order: Great Britain, Canada, Australia, Turkey, and Germany.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Talent Surveys

We've already received over 80 responses to the Talent Survey. Please return yours next Sunday and place in the oak boxes. You can also bring in or mail to the church office. We will be posting soon the survey on-line. The three-some to communicate with comments and questions are David Apple, Pat Russell, and Christina Corbett. You can email anyone on staff by using first initial, last name,

Communicants Class

Pat Canavan reports that there are about 15 students in the Communicants Class which meets Sundays at 5:00. This is a class for young people wanting to join the church. Here is the course schedule:
9/11......Introduction to the Class........Phil Ryken
9/25.....Becoming a Christian...............Pat Canavan
10/2.....What is a Presbyterian............George McFarland
10/9.....TULIP-the Five Points...........Jonathan Olsen
10/16...History of the Reformation....Aaron Messner
10/23...History of Tenth Church........George McFarland
10/30...Spiritual Gifts..........................Cora Hogue
11/6......Sacraments/Public Worship.Carroll Wynne
11/13....Private Worship.....................Jonathan Olsen
11/20....Evangelism & Missions.........Bruce McDowell
11/27....Vows & Their Implications...Pat Canavan


Tuesdays are for staff meetings. The whole staff meets at 11:00; most of us then eat together; pastoral staff then meets from 1:00-about 3:00, leaving about an hour for prayer. That is when we lift up all the prayer requests received from the pew cards and other means.

Also the Session and Deaconate meet tonight.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Katrina and God

On request, here is a Reformed perspective on Hurricane Katrina and God (this is linking you to a posting by Rick Phillips on Reformation 21 blogsite): Was God Responsible for Hurricane Katrina?

Website Team

Thought you would appreciate a little history and credit for the new church website. This project took over a year and a half and was largely accomplished through a team of committed volunteers who invested considerable personal time. If you have a chance, please commend the following: Seana Wood and Kevin Meadows for design work, John Voorhis for setting up the content management system and handling most of the technical stuff, and Jessie Taylor and Dot Boersma for uploading much of the information. Others on the committee included Pat Canavan, Christina Corbett, Bill Meinel, and Victor Ortega.

Church Help

I received an email this morning suggesting a Tenth Press article about the help that our members may receive, both physically and spiritually. There are evidently many who for various reasons don't feel comfortable turning to the church for help. I discussed this very subject with the New Members class yesterday. Some people rave about the friendliness and care that we give; others bemoan the lack of it. Pray for us who are ministers, pastoral staff, elders, and deacons/esses who are entrusted with God for the care of our people, that we may be wise, diligent, and strong in service.

Meanwhile, I you need help or you know of someone needing help, I hope that you will let me or someone in the church know. One of the things I do to is make connections, and can often help by getting you connected with the right person.

Sunday Remembrance

The following is exerpted from my staff memo:

The early indications are that David’s and Pat R’s diligent preparations for Service Sunday are paying off. We’ve gotten a good initial return of the surveys. I have not heard about activity around the ministry tables yet. Thank you, David and Pat, for your careful laying of what we hope to be the foundation of lay ministry in the church. Increasing the involvement of laity to a significant number is a large undertaking, but you have started us in the right direction. (Note: Christy’s role will now increase as she moves the survey data into our database.)

I also must comment on Sunday’s music, which commemorated the legacy of Robert Elmore. From the prelude to the postlude, we received what Jerry McFarland aptly described as “a taste of heaven.” Thank you, Paul, for adding to your musical gift, the vision and discipline to not merely give a nod to the past, but to move the church forward in glorifying and serving God through music. As great as the past was, truly the best is yet to be.

I had the pleasure Sunday evening to roam through the facilities and observe the ministries taking place – worship in the Sanctuary, teaching Scripture to children in the basement and to teenagers in Fellowship Hall, building friendships with the homeless in the Catacombs, taking care of children in the nursery, teaching the meaning of hymns in the 315 Building, as well as rhythm and singing. It was a good reminder that, however chaotic our lives may seem, the Holy Spirit continues to do his good work in us and through us for the glory of God.